Are you about to give up on AdWords because it’s too expensive?

Written by Aaron Weiner, SoftwarePromotions Ltd.

You’ve tweaked and optimized, but you just cannot seem to bring down those high costs.

It’s possible that Google is charging you too much for AdWords because you’re simply doing something wrong. It’s a complex system, and any mistakes can cost you dearly.

At this rate, your competition will love it if you gave up and closed your account.

Don’t hand your competition an advantage and don’t despair! I’ve outlined a list of possible issues that I have seen over my 11+ years of AdWords experience that should help you reduce your AdWords costs.

You’ll finally be able to make AdWords work for you, not against you!

Start with the big picture.

This is where you’ll need to take a critical look at your entire account and website. Then ask yourself the following:

Are your keywords directly related to your product or service?

I see issues with keywords all the time. Google makes it easy to add keywords, and they’re always suggesting that you add more, but sometimes more is not a good idea.

Perhaps some of your keywords follow this pattern: People searching for apples might be interested in oranges. If that sounds familiar, that could be part of the problem. Obviously, you know that apples aren’t oranges. There are a few similarities, but that’s about it. The point is that similar is not the same, and this also applies to your keywords.

AdWords works best when you give people precisely what they want. Some people that want apples might be satisfied with oranges, but most won’t.

Remember: Google reward advertisers with a lower cost per click when they’re relevant. In the end, Google wants people to find what they’re looking for when they perform a search on Google.

Do your ads make a connection with your keywords?

It’s a pain to create so many unique ads across so many different ad groups which is why this is such a common issue. It’s easier to create a few ads and then copy and paste them throughout your ad groups. If you’re using that approach, it’s a really bad idea.

Ads that work well tend to be ads that directly relate to the keyword. Think about when you search for something on Google: your eyes quickly scan the search results for what you’re looking for. You’re far less likely to click on things that don’t appear to be relevant.

A good idea is to try to use your keywords in your ads.

Are your ads enticing enough to make your customer want to click on them?

This can be difficult to gauge. If you have someone that can help with a fresh set of eyes, I would suggest that you have them review your ads.

Also, try to view your ads next to those of your competition. It’s possible that their ads are more enticing than your own. If that’s the case, learn from it, and come up with something better than the competition.

I often see search results filled with ads that all look and sound the same. Make your ads different so that they stand out.

Keep in mind that if people aren’t clicking on your ads, it sends a signal to Google that you’re not relevant. The less relevant your ads, the higher your costs will be.

Do your landing pages make a connection with your ads?

I often see accounts that don’t use landing pages, and they simply send people to the home page of their website. I understand that it’s not easy to create unique landing pages for every keyword theme, but sending them to a “close fit” is a really bad idea.

Personally, I don’t think you need too many landing pages, but the home page of your website tends to be the worst choice of all.

If people are clicking on your ads, but then going back to Google to click on your competitor’s ads, it sends a bad signal to Google. People aren’t finding what they’re looking for on your website.

That’s not a good position to be in, and again will most likely lead to higher costs per click.

Do your landing pages convey exactly what you’re offering in an easy to understand way?

Obviously, you think it does but do your website visitors agree? Have someone with an outside perspective review it. You might be shocked by what they say.

Whenever we review websites for our client’s, they’re always surprised by our findings. But they’re even more surprised by the resulting improvements when they make our suggested changes.

Do your landing pages have a clear goal?

My guess is that you want people to purchase whatever it is that you’re offering, but are you stating this?

I’m always amazed by the number of websites that don’t tell people what to do – download, sign up, buy and so on.

Also, think about the process of becoming one of your customers. Do people instantly arrive on your website and then buy? Or do they need to try your product and then buy it? Maybe they need to contact you first?

These aren’t the clicks that you’re looking for.

Another common one. Keywords were added using Google’s guidance which tends to steer people into using broad match keywords. Or you didn’t see many clicks for all your exact match keywords, so you added some broad match keywords.

Either way, you’re most likely receiving clicks from people who aren’t interested in what you’re offering.

I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t use broad match, but it needs to be used sparingly and with caution.

When allowed to run wild, broad match keywords have a tendency of attracting the wrong types of visitors, which can ultimately lead to higher cost per clicks.

More of these but none of those.

You bid on a keyword that you believe is targeted but when it’s used with another keyword, it leads to wasted AdWords spend.

If you’re not using any negative keywords or only a few, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll receive clicks that are completely off target.

For search campaigns, review the search terms report found on the dimensions tab. It will report all the actual searches that are resulting in clicks on your ads.

Find all the keywords that are off target and exclude them by adding them to the negative keyword list.
For display campaigns, review the placement performance report, also found on the dimensions tab. This report will help identify clicks that are coming from websites that are off target or not producing desirable outcomes. Once you find those sites, you can easily exclude them by adding them as negative placements.

It’s been a while since you last did any keyword research.

If it’s been a while since you last did any keyword research, you might want to revisit that as soon as possible.

Your keywords can lose their effectiveness over time, and it’s a good idea to always be on the lookout for new keywords that might produce better results.

Google has stated that 15% of all queries it sees each day have never been seen before. 15%!

That means it’s possible that you’re missing out on searches that none of your competitors are even targeting.

More keyword research could lead to better keywords at a lower cost per click.

Wasting money on the wrong locations.

When was the last time you reviewed your location targeting? If you haven’t done so in a while, you might be surprised by what you find.

To begin with, Google doesn’t distribute your ad impressions across all your targeted locations evenly. One location might be dominating all other locations, and that location might not be producing the best results.

Depending on how you configured your location targeting, your ads might have been displayed to people outside your targeted location.

I would recommend that you review your user locations report – found on the dimensions tab. See if there are locations that are producing less than desirable results. If you find any, you can either exclude them or lessen their impact by using location based bid adjustments.

Are the right people clicking at the right time?

There are a few reports on the dimensions tab that can be used to analyze your account’s performance across time. Look for days of the week or specific times in a day that tend to cost money but don’t produce good results.

For example, you might find that Saturday and Sunday are wasting your budget. If that’s happening, you could turn off your ads on those specific days through the AdWords ad scheduling system within the campaign settings.

Important: the ad scheduling system is based on your AdWords account’s particular time zone. The time zone is something that you set when you initially created your account, and cannot be modified.

What this means is if you’re targeting one or more locations that span multiple time zones, ad scheduling might not work as expected.

To get around this issue, you’ll need to setup campaigns that target locations within a single time zone. That way you’ll be able to adjust ad scheduling accordingly.

How attached are you?

When it comes to AdWords, you periodically need to delete what’s not working and expand on areas that are working. Sometimes purging what isn’t working can be difficult. It sounds strange, but you might have strong feelings for particular keywords or a set of ads that you just can’t see yourself killing off.

If that sounds uncomfortably familiar, try pausing them instead, and let your account focus on the areas that are working. By doing so, you could send Google better signals that you’re more relevant. In turn, this should help lower your AdWords costs.

Once things begin to turn around, try to gradually reactivate some of the items that you paused. If they still don’t work, maybe it’s finally time to say goodbye? The data is talking if you’ll listen.

Hopefully, these ideas will have your account working in no time. If not, drop me an email to see if I can help you with your problem.

Good luck.